Inside the neck there is a metal rod called the ‘truss rod’. The truss rod helps keep the neck straight because the tension of the strings causes the neck to bow. Some basses (especially 5- and 6-string basses) have double truss rods for more strength.
Graphite necks, since they are so sturdy, have no truss rods.
Some bass necks are graphite-reinforced. This means they are partially graphite and the rest of the bass neck is wood.
The nut is the part of the bass that holds the strings in place on the end of the neck. The nut is an essential part of the bass since it is a point where the strings make contact with the bass.
Look for a cleanly cut nut. The shape should be smooth and the string slots should be nice and clean.
The shape of the neck is sometimes described as a “C neck” , a “D neck” or some other letter. This refers to the roundness and shape of the back of the neck. After you play them you might get a feel for the different shapes. And, you may find you prefer a particular shape.
The width at nut specification will tell you how wide the bass’s neck is at the end. That will give you an indication of the string spacing and how big the neck is. If you have smaller hands, you may lean towards skinnier necks.
Another neck term you will see is “neck binding”. Binding is a finish coating around the edges of certain parts of the bass guitar. It is often white, or ivory. Neck binding covers the edges of the fingerboard and binds it to the neck.
Some necks have ‘rolled edges’ meaning the edges aren’t a sharp angle. This is a matter of personal preference and not that essential.
Often you hear the phrase “fast neck”. As in, “This Ibanez bass has a really fast neck!” This refers to how easy it is to maneuver around the neck of the bass. This is usually a product of the neck’s shape, width, thickness, and finish.
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